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Wednesday, 21 October 1903

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) - As the Minister has practically agreed to accept the amendment made by the Senate, I rise only to bring under notice the fact that under a new regulation framed either by the Commissioner or some of his officers no allowance is given to some of the linemen, who have to travel from place to place in the performance of their duties. I believe that the new regulation provides that if men leave their homes after 6.30 a.m. and return before 11 p.m. they shall receive no allowance, notwithstanding that during the interim they may have had to travel twenty or thirty miles by road and to take a bag of tools with them. If they areunable to return by 11 p.m. they receive an allowance for every mile travelled by them. Those who are called out at night receive an allowance, and any one who is familiar with the duties of linemen knows that they are compelled very often to turn out at night. I am informed, also, that those whose claims have been acknowledged by the Department have been called upon to give particulars of the various items of their expenditure. They are actually asked to show a receipt for the shilling which they may have had to spend on a meal. No such questions are put to officers in the other divisions.

Sir John Forrest - The details of the claims must be stated in every case.

Mr TUDOR - I do not think that officers in other divisions are called upon to produce a receipt for every meal in respect of which they make a charge. A lineman, with whom I am acquainted, was recently called upon to travel from Werribee to Newport in order to discover a break in the line, and found it necessary to obtain a meal at some wayside house. The Department asked him whether he could produce a receipt showing the payment made by him for the meal. How many honorable members would be able to comply with a demand of that kind if they were placed in a similar position ? I trust that the Minister will ascertain from the Public Service Commissioner whether any new regulations have been introduced ; that he will see that the regulations now before us are observed, and that those who have to travel twenty or thirty miles a day are fairly treated,

Motion agreed to.

Resolutions reported ; report adopted.

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